Lifestyle

truffles-in-italy

Autumn in Italy Offers a Bounty of Truffles

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Italy, especially the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.   The weather is perfect, the crowds have dwindled, and the harvest showcases Italy’s culinary delights.  Fall festivals abound throughout Italy honoring grapes, olives, chestnuts, mushrooms, and the pricy truffle. Truffles have been a […]

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Italy, especially the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.   The weather is perfect, the crowds have dwindled, and the harvest showcases Italy’s culinary delights.  Fall festivals abound throughout Italy honoring grapes, olives, chestnuts, mushrooms, and the pricy truffle.

Truffles have been a delicacy for thousands of years.  There are references by Greek and Roman philosophers as well as in ancient Egyptian writings.   Tartufo, in Italian, is a fungus found growing near the roots of certain trees.  Its enticing aromas and earthy flavor, along with the fact that it has not been cultivated since the late 1800s makes it one of the most coveted foods in the world.

There are a handful of truffle varieties making them available most of the year.  The Italian white truffle is the most expensive and aromatic, prevalent in the Piedmont area of Northern Italy, the most well-known truffle heralding from the area around the city of  Alba where the International Truffle Festival is held every. Their season lasts from October to December, and every restaurant and home will be serving freshly shaved white truffles over Tajarin, local egg pasta.  Next, to being invited into a hunters home, we highly recommend you head off to  Ristorante La Pina for this delectable dish served only during the truffle season.  [Piazza Risorgimento, 4 Alba  phone  +39 0173 442800 http://www.lapiola-alba.it/en/]

The Italian Black truffle, known as the Perigord, is the cherished truffle located in Umbra and available from October through early January. It makes sense that it is also home to Urbani, the world supplier for this prized delicacy. [Santa’Anatolia di Narco, http://urbanitartufi.it/en/]   Their truffle museum is worth a trip, but if you can’t make it to Umbria this fall, Urbani has opened a test kitchen and tasting room in Manhattan, called Truffle Lab NYC.  Here you can enjoy truffle dinners or partake in cooking classes taught by world-renowned chefs.  Or just stop in for the freshest Italian truffles flown in daily from Umbria.  [10 West End Ave, NY NY 10023   www.urbani.com]
The Italian Summer Truffle is more readily available and in season from March through November. It is found in throughout most parts of Tuscany and the region of Le Marche.   Papavero Villa Rentals has many properties in the picturesque area called Le Crete  – the heart of the Siena province countryside. We arrange a wonderful day hunting the white truffle of Le Crete Senesi,  the Marzulo and third known simply as the black summer truffle.  Each has its own season allowing a truffle hunt throughout the tourist season.   You will join a local villager and his trained dog through the woods in search of this delicacy followed with lunch in a trattoria or even his own home accompanied by the famous Brunello di Montalcino or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  Before the hunt,  if time allows, you will tour the small truffle museum in San Giovanni, a quaint medieval village set among the forests that provide the white truffles. Every person in the area hunts for truffles for their own table, but since they last at most four days, they sell the overflow to agents hired by prestigious restaurants around the world.   They say that if you put an Alba white truffle next to theirs, you cannot tell the difference.

 

If you prefer to hunt for fresh truffles in comfort, here are some of Italy’s 2017 Truffle Festivals

PIEDMONT

ALBA  –  Alba’s white truffle fair and market is one of the best and worth a special trip.  The event runs from this year from October 7 to 26th November with gastronomic stands and ends with the truffle world auction and the white truffle walk for tourists.  During the fair, there are concerts and lots of entertainment as well.  The week before leads up to this event with the famous donkey Palio and the chef contest; the finalist will then enter the world’s most prestigious cooking contest the Bocouse d’ Or in France next January.   http://www.fieradeltartufo.org/

MONCALVO –  this year will be held from the 22nd through the 29th Ocboter.  Located among the picturesque area of Monferrato with stoic castles, panoramic landscapes, and quaint villages. Moncalvo will be celebrating with truffle tastings and dinners leading up to the auction on the last day.

 

TUSCANY

San Giovanni d’Asso  – second and third weekends in November

Volterra –  Last weekend in October and the first weekend in November

San Miniato ( Florence Province) Last weekend in October and the first weekend in November

Corazzano, San Miniato  ( Florence Province) the first  Sunday in October

Balconevisi, San Miniato ( Florence Province) the third Sunday in October

Montespertoli ( Siena Province) Third weekend in November

Borgo San Lorenzo, Mugello ( Florence Province) third weekend in November

Montaione ( Siena Province) Last weekend in October

Arezzo ( Arezzo Provoince) first weekend in October

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playing-golf

Playing Golf Has Never Been Better

With more golf courses in America than there are McDonald’s (15,000 vs. 14,000), there is a reason why so many golf courses exist in America. Whether you play golf or not, most people at one point in time wanted to try it; and people who play wish they played more.  There are many reasons to […]

With more golf courses in America than there are McDonald’s (15,000 vs. 14,000), there is a reason why so many golf courses exist in America. Whether you play golf or not, most people at one point in time wanted to try it; and people who play wish they played more.  There are many reasons to value golf but here are some highlights for those who always wanted to learn or needed a reminder.

Exercise – The average golfer burns 1,442 calories playing golf while walking. If they take a golf cart, they burn 822 calories.  A Swedish Study concluded that golfers lived five years longer than non-golfers (although nearly all golfers in Sweden walk.) Everyone wants to be healthier, so what better way to get exercise than while playing the game of golf. Sure, beats running on a treadmill in my opinion.

Outdoor Benefits – Being outside has been shown to lower blood pressure (although missing an 18-inch putt may reverse that), improve your ability to focus, help fight anxiety, eliminate fatigue, reduce inflammation, improve short-term memory and demonstrate a de-stressing effect.

Fundraising – Do you know an organization that needs an extra $2,000 or $100,000 this year? Golf courses can help. In 2016 golf raised $3.9 BILLION and since 2012 it has raised over $20 Billion in money for charities. In 2016 each charity event nationwide averaged $26,400 for the cause. No matter what size organization you are, golf courses can help you raise money for a great cause, or by simply playing in one of their events, you can help a charity succeed in their mission.

Business – Want a senior management position? You should strongly consider playing golf because executives who play golf make 17% more than those who don’t. 54% of business professionals see golf as the perfect networking tool. An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf and 50% of golfers agreed to the statement, “the way a person plays golf is very similar to how he or she conducts business affairs.”

Why is golf good for business? Because golf:

  1. Provides access to an environment where business deals are done
  2. Challenges people to go beyond their comfort zone for personal enrichment
  3. Instills confidence both on and off the course
  4. Gives insight on how to read others
  5. Offers you a sneak peek into the integrity and ethics of your golf partners
  6. And most important…lets you open up and have fun!

Fun – What do you do for fun with friends, colleagues, and family? Some people play golf for the business reasons listed above, and some play with a group of friends they may not see if it wasn’t for that annual event. Some play with their brothers, sisters, parents, children, and relatives. Golf provides an opportunity to bond and create memories that last a lifetime.

There are also many other reasons people play golf. Some like competitive events and some just like to relax and have a few drinks. The best part is you don’t have to be good at the sport to have fun and enjoy all the benefits.

Sources:

http://www.appraisers.org/docs/default-source/discipline_rp/golf-courses-an-ever-changing-challenge.pdf?sfvrsn=0

https://www.pga.com/play-golf-america/new-golfer/golf-good-business

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7#walking-in-nature-could-improve-your-short-term-memory-1

http://wearegolf.org/charity/contributions/

https://onpar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/a-little-scientific-research-for-all-those-19th-hole-debates/

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carnivore-diet-vs-keto

The Carnivore Diet vs. the Keto Diet

So what is all of this buzz around Carnivore vs. Keto? The buzz isn’t that new actually. It can be traced back to its origins in 1923 with Dr. Russell Wilder. He worked with treatments to impact Epilepsy, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Keto relates to his Ketogenic Therapy, which became the Ketogenic Diet, now the Keto […]

So what is all of this buzz around Carnivore vs. Keto? The buzz isn’t that new actually. It can be traced back to its origins in 1923 with Dr. Russell Wilder. He worked with treatments to impact Epilepsy, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Keto relates to his Ketogenic Therapy, which became the Ketogenic Diet, now the Keto Diet. This is well explained at the CharlieFoundation.org

Ketogenic influence has increased in popularity over other buzzes like Paleo since Paleo has become heavily diluted and incorrectly marketed. Many people get them confused due to the marketing and food companies jumping on the bandwagon and trying to make a buck off of the buzz. Many publications are crossing the relationships in a confusing way too. It is okay if you’re confused, after all, the big buzzwords these days now include Keto, Ketogenic, Carnivore, Paleo, Paleolithic, NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) Low Carb, LCHF (Low Carb High Fat), and more.

I want to preface the rest of this article by reminding you that each of us are at a different place on the health education timeline. What might be working already for me, might not work for you… just yet. It’s important that people realize that there are short-term vs. long-term decisions here. I.e., fad diets (short) vs. lifestyle choices (long). Legitimate and sustainable healthy lifestyle transformations happen with a proper allotment of time. Choose your steps and changes that will create a sustainable, positive change.

Another quick note on “DIET.” This term has become a bad four-letter word due to marketing turning it into short-term psychological impacts on our mindset. A “LIFESTYLE” change is what you’re really looking for, especially if you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle with daily energy impairment, health problems, medical issues, etc. Committing to healthier lifestyle choices could bring you improved energy, alertness, awareness, stress reduction, and more.

I’ve always been a person living in a somewhat of a Keto Lifestyle, I just didn’t know it. Over the recent years, I had barely eaten bread, so I simply stopped. This allowed me to move and get cleaner into a No Sugar No Grains Lifestyle. I live a pretty ketogenic lifestyle. Meaning, I am more fat-adapted. I’m just not always in a pure state of healthy ketosis. Fat, healthy fats, are your body’s preferred source of long-burning energy.

70% of our diet aka fuel intake, should be roughly centered around healthy fats if you’re looking to live more ketogenic. What are healthy fats? Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, or even avocado oil are all great sources. Other natural sources of healthy fats include heavy whipping cream, grass-fed butter, half and half, etc. Those dairy-based sources of fat are not overly processed like traditional milk. So their whole fat purity reigns supreme. When you cut the fat, you’re left with lactose aka milk sugars.

Now whether we’re talking Paleo, Keto, or Carnivore, it’s important to remind ourselves to try and source our food aka fuel as clean as possible. So finding grass fed, chemical free, hormone free, etc. will help us reduce our daily toxic exposure. Unfortunately, not all food companies have to clarify this on their labels. So if you can source whole food solutions from farms and markets you know care about this, then you’re winning. Fun note, a chemical-free muffin is still a muffin and is not Keto, it’s converted to an unhealthy sugar bomb.

Now let’s help clarify the simplicity of a Carnivore. Carnivores are actually simply focusing on wild game, red meat sources, and then beef as the foundation if those aren’t available. These red meat sources are actually super rich in minerals and vitamins overtop of other meats like chicken or turkey. An excellent reference on this would be Dr. Shawn Baker MD of the Carnivore Training System at Shawn-Baker.com. I also recommend checking out Dr. Anthony Jay Ph.D. of AJConsultingCompany.com. He is starting the first 100% Carnivore Study, to analyze the impacts of a 100% red meat lifestyle for 90 days. He’ll be measuring the before and after effects on the length of our Telomeres of our DNA which determine aging.

So are you Keto, Carnivore, or Paleo? I can only dive so deep in this short article. The most important thing we can take away is that we need to get back to our roots, away from manufactured “food,” and start finding the healthy lifestyle choices to improve our lives. Yes, I live a marriage of Paleo / Keto / Carnivore / NSNG / LCHF lifestyles. So I’m not 100% Carnivore since I’m currently consuming avocados, pasture-raised eggs, bacon, and lots of red meat, other well-sourced Keto-friendly products.

It takes 28 days to build a habit, it takes 30 days to prove you can implement potentially sustainable actions to a healthier lifestyle. To tell you the truth, be prepared at 90 days, but actually, 120 days to establish a legitimately sustainable body and lifestyle transformation.

So take your health seriously my friend and give yourself time to commit and to see these transitions happen. So you could read these benefits for years to come.

 


 

Disclaimer… The information provided above is my own research, opinions, and experiences. Scott Mulvaney (LIVETHEFUEL) is not liable for any personal decisions. Please always consult a professional doctor when appropriate, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

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100 Years Young: Four Ways to Keep Your Company Young for Years to Come

When it comes to staying “young” as a company, it may seem counterintuitive to learn from companies that have been in business for a long time. However, by looking closely at the best practices of seasoned businesses, you’ll find what often makes them successful is consistent adherence to a core set of best practices. Following […]

When it comes to staying “young” as a company, it may seem counterintuitive to learn from companies that have been in business for a long time. However, by looking closely at the best practices of seasoned businesses, you’ll find what often makes them successful is consistent adherence to a core set of best practices. Following are a few ways you can make sure your business stays current and on the right track.

  1. Investing in Technology and R&D

Prioritizing investments in technology and R&D for innovation can have many benefits. First among these is helping your customers solve their greatest challenges. Customers value the ability to voice their opinions, and by integrating customer feedback into new product development efforts, your organization will be better positioned to sustain long-term customer satisfaction, loyalty, and valuable relationships.

Fostering a mindset of continuous improvement allows employees to identify areas of opportunity for innovation. Equip employees with top technologies and resources, enabling them to enhance your company’s processes and efficiencies.

Overall, your company will remain successful in introducing disruptive products and services when you offer key differentiators and unique value that clearly separate you from the competition. Connecting your brand and offerings with current topics, technologies and trends help your company remain relevant.

  1. Attracting / Retaining Talent

Employees are your company’s biggest asset and showing them you care will help you more successfully attract and retain top talent. Committing to, and valuing, ongoing professional development ensures your employees are up-to-date on knowledge and skills training and are engaged. Consider tuition reimbursement for continued education, encouraging your employees to dream big and simultaneously achieve professional and educational goals.

Show you care about employee well-being on and off the clock with a health and wellness program – and experience increased employee efficiency and productivity. A Quantum Workplace report showed that when employees believe their employer cares about their health and well-being, they are 38% more engaged, 28% more likely to recommend their workplace, and 18% more likely to go the extra mile for the organization.

Maintain a talent pipeline with a healthy internship program. When you give fresh minds insight into your business and your challenges, you gain their energy, ideas, and insight into potential future hiring opportunities.

  1. Keeping Focus on Customer Engagement

Customer engagement should be a priority across your entire organization, with everyone following the same true north. This can and should be achieved year-round by getting to know your customers better, actively listening to them, constantly asking questions and knowledgeably answering their questions. A customer event can be a great way to achieve these objectives and integrate with your overarching product strategy by soliciting invaluable feedback. Being customer-centric energizes employees when they understand the linkage between their job and the real end goal of the business—to serve customers.

Training presents another important opportunity for customer engagement, while potentially providing solutions to help customers address skills gaps. Education can and should be delivered in many forms—from manuals and hands-on classes to online and self-help—to meet the needs of diverse learners.

  1. Encouraging Diversity of Thought

Ideas can come from anywhere. However, by consciously cultivating diversity of thought, you can stimulate creativity. This can be done in a variety of ways. For example, consider different cultures, backgrounds, and personalities for new hires and develop collaborative, diverse project teams to contribute to new ideas and solutions.

This can also be done via reverse mentorship. Given the growth in technology, younger workers can teach mature employees new ways to solve problems and use the latest and greatest technology.

Finally, creating an environment where employees can be themselves will allow for thought diversity. It starts on the individual level before it is a culture. Visible leadership enhances this. Available, authentic executives who engage with employees at all levels helps create a culture of trust and respect while enhancing communication and collaboration.

 


 

Eric B. Luftig is a Vice President at Victaulic, which is celebrating 100 Years of Innovation in 2019. He leads a global team across a variety of departments and areas of focus. Eric is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Chemical Engineering and has a broad professional background having been in a variety of operational and commercial leadership roles.

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Cigar Review

601 White Connecticut Churchill Nicaragua                             7.0” x 502                             Medium                       93-Rated One word comes to mind when I hold this cigar: beautiful. The chestnut-hued Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is flawless and fitted with a […]

601 White Connecticut Churchill
Nicaragua                             7.0” x 502                             Medium                       93-Rated
One word comes to mind when I hold this cigar: beautiful. The chestnut-hued Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is flawless and fitted with a triple-cap, in true Cuban form. The cigar is perfectly rolled, solid from head to toe and sits heavy in the hand. Then there’s the flavor, a rich bevy of wood and cream, complemented by nuts and a touch of sweetness from the wrapper. The Churchill burns slow and cool, offering a buttery-smooth bouquet from start to finish.
Bugatti Ambassador Toro
Dominican Republic                            6.0” x 54                          Medium             91-Rated

An oily Habano wrapper from Ecuador blankets this Toro from Bugatti, hugging a 4-country blend of tobaccos from the Dominican, Nicaragua, Brazil and the United States (Pennsylvania). The superior balance in flavor leads me to believe each leaf has been aged significantly, followed by an extensive post-roll nap. The smoke is thick and creamy, imparting a rich core of flavors. I get sweet oak and cashew, just before a pleasant spice lingers after each puff

Henry Clay Limited Edition 2018 Perfecto
Honduras        5.75” x 52                               Medium-Full                        93-Rated

Disclaimer: This is not your grandaddy’s Henry Clay. Not by a longshot. The Perfecto shape is perfectly sculpted, exhibiting a complex yet balanced flavor and profile throughout. The Habano 2000 wrapper offers a rustic, earthy nuance reminiscent of Cuban cigars, just before its long-leaf mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos coat the palate with roasted espresso bean, toasted cedar and sweet cream. I’d consider this cigar medium in body, but many will find it to be medium to full.

Hoyo La Amistad Silver Pancho
Nicaragua                    5.5” x 52                               Full                         94-Rated

This cigar had me at AJ Fernandez. I personally love his cigars, and Hoyo La Amistad Silver is no different. I’ve had about a dozen since it arrived, and find the Pancho to be my favorite vitola. The Ecuador wrapper is rich and hearty. The Nicaraguan blend of long-fillers is equally rich – Esteli leaves imparting a dense core of cocoa, coffee and spice, and Condega leaves offering a gentle sweetness and wonderful aroma. Lots of flavor, with a full-bodied profile to match.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon Aquitaine EMH Robusto Extra
Nicaragua                     5.0” x 56                               Full                       92-Rated

Easily the most complex cigar in the bunch, this 56-ring Robusto dishes out a hefty dose of spice throughout the burn thanks to a bold ligero wrapper grown from Habano seeds. Underneath, a Cameroon wrapper offers a slight nutty influence, while securing 3 different Nicaraguan long-fillers. During the burn, the cigar gradually grows stronger, hitting the full-bodied range while dishing out notable hints of white pepper, earth, leather and sweet cedar. Satisfying.

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The Manhattan Project: Making the Manhattan Great Again

So, in our first foray into the world of spirits and cocktails, we visited the haciendas of Mexico to talk about the origins of one of our favorite happy hour drinks; the margarita. In our next installment in the history of spirits and cocktails, we now visit the oldest vermouth driven cocktail: The Manhattan. There […]

So, in our first foray into the world of spirits and cocktails, we visited the haciendas of Mexico to talk about the origins of one of our favorite happy hour drinks; the margarita. In our next installment in the history of spirits and cocktails, we now visit the oldest vermouth driven cocktail: The Manhattan.

There is no doubt the Manhattan originated in one of the five boroughs of New York City, and I’ll let your imagination run wild in guessing which one. But once again, we have a contentious origin story for the great American classic that has seen a boom in popularity in recent decades.

Some historians point to Jennie Jerome, the famous Lady Churchill (mother of Sir Winston Churchill) as someone who helped create the iconic drink. Some will say in 1874 during a party thrown for then-presidential hopeful Samuel J Tibbet at the Manhattan club, that this masterful pairing of Rye whiskey, vermouth, and aromatic bitters was created. Heck, many history books will attest to this as being fact. However; David Wondrich per Imbibe! Magazine and notable author in cocktail history disputes this as fact.

According to Wondrich, during that time period, Lady Churchill was in England about to give birth to the great Sir Winston Churchill instead of galavanting at cocktail dinners trying to raise money for a presidential candidate. Instead, Wondrich points to William F. Mulhall; a bartender at the famed Hoffman House who applied his trade as a bartender for over thirty years as being someone who has the secret to the origins of this particular cocktail. According to Mulhall, a man who went by the name of “Black” (yes, that’s it) “who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the 1860’s.”

Regardless of the origin of this American classic, it predates any vermouth driven cocktails such as the Martini (YES, A PROPER MARTINI GETS VERMOUTH PEOPLE!), Martinez or Rob Roy. Alas, I digress. Another point of contention amongst bar aficionados is the proportions for a Manhattan in and of itself. Some will go the 2 ½ ounces to ¾ ounce vermouth ratio. Some prefer a Canadian blended whiskey with little to no vermouth and no bitters. My standard recipe for a Manhattan is as follows:

  • 2 ounces of Bourbon or Rye Whiskey (I prefer Rittenhouse 100 proof Rye made in Maryland)
  • 1 ounce of Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica is without a doubt my favorite.)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters.

 

Add all three ingredients to a glass filled with ice and stir – never shake a drink with no citrus as it bruises the booze – and garnish with an orange twist (unless you have proper brandied cherries, no maraschinos in my bar please.)

Before I go onto some variations in the cocktail, let’s again take a look back through history to understand how certain variations and taste profiles have come to be.

During prohibition, we as Americans obviously could not make (unless for medicinal purposes) any alcohol to be sold or consumed in the United States. That lead to backyard stills and sub-par alcohol. So, people looked to Canada as one of the leading exporters of actual distilled alcohol that helped add the authentic flavor that people were used to. So as that generation and the next came of drinking age, more and more Canadian whiskey was drank. Due to its charcoal filtered finish, it doesn’t have the same “bite” in the finish as traditional American bourbon or Rye whiskey. Hence the need for less vermouth and not so much with the bitters. Baby boomers and some of their children still prefer our northern cousin for a Manhattan due to its easy drinkability. Being the traditionalist that I am and having a slight penchant for harsher undertones that to me provide more character and depth to the cocktail, prefer the American standard of bourbon or rye.

With all of this being said, the Manhattan cocktail is one that bartenders of the modern era love to re-create with the abundance of spirits that are available on the back bar of institutions with a serious drive for complexity. With the reemergence of Amaros, Amaris, and vermouth in particular; there are so many layers of flavor that can be added to the drink itself. With a deft hand and understanding of the spirits themselves and how they blend together, different combinations and variations are able to be re-created. Here is my latest, softer and summer themed Manhattan recipe deftly named: Making Manhattan Great Again.

  • 2 ounces of Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • ½ ounce of Averna Amaro (probably the most accessible amaro in Pennsylvania)
  • ½ ounce Luxardo Apricot liqueur
  • 2 dashes of Orange bitters (Regan’s number 9 is my favorite)
  • Garnished with an orange twist

 

Until the next installment of cocktails in Network Magazine, I hope you all continue to drink fresh ingredients, buy local, and always trust a good bartender!

Cheers!

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Scott_Mulvaney-livethefuel.com

Your Inner Circle of Health

I wanted to target this article around your circle of trust or in this case your circle of healthy influencers or lack thereof. Take a moment and think about who is in your inner circle that influences nutrition, exercise, and fitness in general. Ask yourself who you allow to remain in your inner circle that […]

I wanted to target this article around your circle of trust or in this case your circle of healthy influencers or lack thereof. Take a moment and think about who is in your inner circle that influences nutrition, exercise, and fitness in general. Ask yourself who you allow to remain in your inner circle that also influences your daily lifestyle.

I think many of us underestimate the power of our closest influencers. I’m reminded of that today as I write this. We have just finished two weeks working with my inner circle of biking enthusiasts to track down an adult size tricycle bike. A very good friend of ours is a special education teacher. She also specializes in working with autistic children. She had recently reached out because she was going to go buy an adult tricycle and was looking for sponsors or supporters for her therapy work. Once we heard about her goals, we couldn’t let her buy a low-quality bike from Walmart. As a huge biking nut, this will not do. Now that being said, tracking down a bike of this type became a bit of a project and I was quite busy. However, I had a good friend of mine who happens to really geek out and loves to track down bikes that are in amazing condition. He basically flips them or repurposes those bikes as a little fun yet entrepreneurial side hustle.

Building a network or in this case, an inner circle of healthy and trustworthy people ensured that we got to pull together something with a positive benefit for others. I’m telling you this story to help provide an impact on the importance of that inner circle of influence. Many of us underestimate this, so before I continue on, I’ll reference one of my favorite Jim Rohn quotes: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

I’m truly inspired by people in general who choose to help kids and adults for that matter, living with autism. Helping to enable kids with balance issues to ride a bike is something I never thought about. I’m hoping this inspires you to really think about who is in your inner circle of trust. I’ve referenced positive results but let’s really take the time to think about who is negatively impacting your daily goals, your weekly goals, and your monthly goals. These are important topics to consider when it comes to your health, fitness and your overall lifestyle. Ask yourself what changes must be taken to improve your life. Many of us keep making excuses that are fueled by the people around us. Many of you may justify your sedentary lifestyles because of your busy careers, businesses, or the feedback from other sedentary friends/family.

We all have plenty of things to distract us, we all have plenty of opportunities to become sedentary, or justify our unfortunate unhealthy choices. Let’s be honest; it is not always your business, your job, or careers. I’ll be the first one to tell you that’s all BS because I was there once. That is your own internal psychology and possibly the bleed-over of negative influence from your inner circle that influences your actions daily.

So please really take the time to look at who is influencing your daily, weekly, and even monthly lifestyle. If these people are not helping promote positive change, you need to change that time management. This is a hard decision for many people. Psychologically, it is crucial that you start changing the people you surround yourself with. This is a must to create massive and sustainable positive change in your life. Whether it be your nutritional practices, physical education, or overall health practices, all of these things can be influenced by the people you spend the most time with.

You don’t need to change everybody you spend the most time with but start looking at those core people. Then look outside your normal inner circle and see other people that you could be spending more time with. People that will help promote and support your healthy mutual goals. Then get to work because as I already said, it’s not going to be easy, you will have struggles, and yes, it will be awkward. The most impactful changes in our life come from hard decisions.

Most people who struggle to support your healthy changes, because they themselves, are afraid to create them. If they see you taking those positive steps that used to scare them, they may hopefully want to make the same changes themselves and want back into your “Inner Circle of Health.”

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Margarita Mondays and Taco Tuesdays

A Brief Look at Mexican Food in American Culture By: Lucas Heckenberger, Lehigh Valley’s Cocktail Connoisseur We’ve all heard of them; Margarita Monday! Taco Tuesday! Avocado toast, and guacamole on everything. How did these things become so popular today? Where do these traditions actually come from? Let’s take a look. In this day and age, […]

A Brief Look at Mexican Food in American Culture
By: Lucas Heckenberger, Lehigh Valley’s Cocktail Connoisseur

We’ve all heard of them; Margarita Monday! Taco Tuesday! Avocado toast, and guacamole on everything. How did these things become so popular today? Where do these traditions actually come from? Let’s take a look.

In this day and age, many people have taken the time to study and look back at the history and origins of cocktails, rather than try and mass replicate them. The margarita has a muddled past, and there are a few people who claim to have invented the iconic classic.

The first claim to creation is in 1938 at a restaurant called Rancho La Gloria in northern Mexico. It was created for a patron who was allergic to all spirits, except for Tequila. The original recipe was most likely equal parts tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Another story takes place in Ensenada, Mexico at a Hussong’s Cantina. Don Carlos Orozco is said to have been experimenting with tequila, Controy (a close cousin to Cointreau) and lime. Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German ambassador to Mexico at the time, was the first to try the drink and he aptly named it Margarita after her.

However, there is one theory that I personally think holds truer than the others. There is a cocktail called a Daisy that shared many similarities to the Margarita. The most notable distinction is the base spirit of brandy versus tequila. Somewhere along the way, someone substituted tequila for the brandy and used lime instead of lemon and simply renamed daisy into its Spanish counterpart, Margarita.

As is with anything over time, things change and evolve. I will never mix up an equal part margarita, and most restaurants do not. Here is my recipe for a proper margarita:

  • 2 ounces Blanco Tequila (Herradura, Espolon, or Tres Agaves are my go-to’s.)
  • 1/2-ounce Cointreau (much better than Triple Sec.)
  • 1-ounce Fresh Lime Juice (If you see sour coming out of a gun or a jug, opt for a different cocktail!)
  • 1 ounce of Simple Syrup (Equal parts sugar and water, dissolved together.)

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and strain on the rocks or served up. I do not care for salt as it dehydrates you and probably makes hangovers worse if you knock more than a few back!

Personally, I always start with a drink and then move on to something more along the lines of a snack. That’s where the guacamole comes in. This delightful dish has origins that date back to the 1500s and the Aztecs. Guacamole literally translates to “avocado sauce.” The base recipe has been relatively untouched since the 1500s; guacamole, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lime. It wasn’t until the 1930s that avocado and guacamole became popular in the states. Rudolph Haas, a postal worker in southern California during the era, purchased a seedling and started cultivating in the 1930s and later patented the Haas avocado, the most popular brand today.

So, after a couple of rounds of margaritas, some guac, it is now time for the tacos!

Oddly, the term taco doesn’t necessarily have origins in the food world alone. In the 1800s the charges used to clear silver mines were known as tacos due to a paper being wrapped around the gunpowder and then charged to clear the way. One of the first mentions of the food taco is known as “tacos de mineros” or, miner’s tacos. Who knew?

Due to the nature of working-class neighborhoods in Mexico and the southwest, coupled with the number of migrant workers, taquerias were very prevalent in many neighborhoods. Tacos are more commonly known to be either a corn or flour tortilla with some kind of meat and vegetable wrapped in between. Today, there are fish tacos, pork, vegetarian and plenty of other kinds of varieties. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the taco craze really hit America. Maybe you’ll recognize the name Glenn Bell. If not, I’ll let you in on a secret; he went on to found Taco Bell. Despite not having invented the taco itself, Bell simply used American business acumen and began franchising in neighborhoods where there was no exposure to tacos otherwise.

Since then, many of these traditions have become staples of any kind of cuisine across the US. But, that’s the beauty of it. It fits into any category of food, almost any influence and is found on menus everywhere. We’re lucky to have so many that specialize here in the Valley, and it makes sense. Almost 85% of the foodservice industry consists of people of Latin descent. Without them, we wouldn’t enjoy so many of these staples we do. So, raise a glass and a shell, and celebrate the simplicity and humility of a staple to our cuisine.

Salud!

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DNA Health Data Analysis

We now more than ever have so much science available at our fingertips and the online shopping readiness for our healthy spending habits. Some questions I asked myself were: What is the value in understanding more about my DNA? How can DNA data help me positively impact my long-term health, fitness, and lifestyle? What if […]

We now more than ever have so much science available at our fingertips and the online shopping readiness for our healthy spending habits. Some questions I asked myself were:

  1. What is the value in understanding more about my DNA?
  2. How can DNA data help me positively impact my long-term health, fitness, and lifestyle?
  3. What if I learn things from my DNA that concern me in relation to illness, disease, etc.?

On Valentine’s Day 2018, my fiancé helped me indulge my healthy research obsession and purchased me the 23andMe DNA Test that included Health + Ancestry. The 23andMe reports were quite informative. Some of the health-related report categories include Carrier Status, Genetic Health Risk, and Wellness.

Now for this article, we’re going deeper in relation to recommended supplements. Dr. Anthony Jay Ph.D. has co-hosted my podcast show multiple times, got word of my 23andMe test. Dr. Jay offers this deeper DNA and genetic analysis services. He’s currently researching Stem Cells and Epigenetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota too!

Okay, so without further ado, let’s dig into Dr. Jay’s report on my DNA from AJConsultingCompany.com!

KEY SUPPLEMENTS AND CHEMICALS YOU SHOULD ESPECIALLY AVOID BASED ON YOUR DNA

Here is what I found based on my analysis of your +/+ DNA gene variants.

Based on your specific +/+ COMT gene variant (catechol-O-methyltransferase), you likely need to eat more salt and drink more water than normal. I use and recommend Redmond Real Salt since it has no radioactivity, no microplastics, and a complete mineral profile. Also, because of this COMT gene, adrenaline will stay in your body longer than normal. This can inhibit your digestion and sleep after an intense event so be sure to explore techniques to “wind down” in evenings and around meal times. I recommend magnesium supplementing in the evenings and workouts/exercise earlier in the day rather than later. In addition, having high levels of vitamin D and/or estrogen can lower the function of this enzyme, so you don’t want high levels of vitamin D and estrogen.

Based on your specific +/+ VDR gene variant (vitamin D [1,25- dihydroxy vitamin D3] receptor), you need to get higher-than-normal levels of vitamin D; preferably from plenty of sunshine. In winter, supplement at least 5,000 IU every day and probably closer to 10,000 IU each day. Never supplement vitamin D in the evening as it causes poor sleep in a surprising number of people (it inhibits melatonin production). Ideally, take a week or two in the dead of winter and visit southern Florida or a similar tropic region each year.

Based on your specific +/+ BHMT gene variant (betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase), you likely have higher-than-normal levels of “homocysteine” in your body. You should experiment with supplementing with vitamin B6 at 100mg per day (5,000%) to help lower your homocysteine (inflammation), along with other B vitamins (use a “B Complex”) so you don’t get a B vitamin imbalance. You should also eat less processed sugar and research additional ways you might lower general inflammation throughout your body (for example, exercising consistently, supplementing DHA/fish oil, and supplementing curcumin regularly). Alternatively, rather than B vitamin supplementing, eat foods rich in vitamin B6 at least twice per day. These foods include seafood, meats, and eggs. Pistachios are also good. Finally, be sure to get 100% daily value of zinc each day.

Based on your specific +/+ SOD2 gene variant (superoxide dismutase 2), you need to get 100% daily value of manganese every day. Preferably, simply eat a handful of pecans every day, since these have high levels of manganese and low phytic acid (Brazil nuts have high levels of phytic acid, so these are not an ideal manganese source). Next, eat more antioxidant-rich foods than normal, such as colorful fruits and vegetables. If you can afford it, try supplementing “liposomal glutathione” because it will probably work for you; try cycling this supplement into your diet on and off – especially when you are under high-stress loads.

In general, +/- gene variants have less negative health impacts. If you have several +/- issues that affect one gene, though, they are more likely to cause problems. Based on my analysis of your +/- DNA gene variants, I found one additional and notable specific issue.

Based on your specific +/- NAT2 gene variants (N-acetyltransferase 2), you need to be especially careful to avoid any and all carcinogens as much as possible. Google and research “top carcinogens” and see if you are regularly exposed to any of these. Because of this issue, vitamin C is more important for you than people without this DNA variant (vitamin C is both an antioxidant and it generates hydrogen peroxide when it is broken down – which also can kill cancer cells rather than put them on life support like other antioxidants can do!). I prefer you get high doses of vitamin C from foods like guava, bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, and papaya but you can also supplement vitamin C at the upper limits of recommended values in cycles (like one week off and one week on). This will help diminish cancer-causing problems from carcinogenic items. Avoid vitamin C supplements that have carbs, sugars, or artificial dyes. Garlic is also likely to diminish the function of this enzyme even further in your body – something that may not be optimal for you.

Disclaimer… The information provided above is my own research, opinions, and experiences. Scott Mulvaney (LIVETHEFUEL) is not liable for any personal decisions. Please always consult a professional doctor when appropriate, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

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Cigar Review

5 Vegas Limitada 2018 Belicoso Honduras                            6.25” x 52                             Medium               92-Rated Aged Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers mingle inside this Belicoso to deliver layers of cocoa, nuts and cedar. A milk chocolate brown, Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper glistens with oils, lending a long finish filled with earth and spice. Expect a full-flavored bouquet that’s medium in […]

5 Vegas Limitada 2018 Belicoso5 Vegas Limitada 2018 Belicoso
Honduras                            6.25” x 52                             Medium               92-Rated

Aged Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers mingle inside this Belicoso to deliver layers of cocoa, nuts and cedar. A milk chocolate brown, Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper glistens with oils, lending a long finish filled with earth and spice. Expect a full-flavored bouquet that’s medium in body, balanced throughout and complemented by a zesty aroma on the nose. I’ve burned a dozen of these Belicosos, and each has delivered exactly like the last: deliciously.

Diesel Whiskey Row ToroDiesel Whiskey Row Toro
Nicaragua                            6.0” x 54                               Full                         93-Rated

One word: unique. This hefty Toro employs bold tobaccos patiently aged in oak barrels once used to craft Rabbit Hole bourbon…and you can tell with every last puff. 3 types of vintage, Nicaraguan ligero leaves are balanced by a 5-year-old Ecuador Habano wrapper. The cigar is rich throughout, offering dense notes of earth, wood, and sweet spices. Big flavors, eclipsed only by sweet, oaky nuances and aromas from the bourbon barrels. Diesel Whiskey Row, a must-try.

Gurkha 130th Reserve Churchill TuboGurkha 130th Reserve Churchill Tubo
Dominican Republic        7.5” x 52                               Medium-Full      95-Rated

The 130th Reserve had me at hello, thanks to an impressive crystal tube enclosed by wax. The oversized Churchill sports an oily, Ecuador Habano wrapper and sits heavy in my hand. Upon lighting, a super-smooth bouquet blankets every last taste bud. Oak and leather dominate up front, preparing my palate for hints of toast and white pepper. The hearty wrapper dishes out a rich peppery-sweetness that lingers long after each puff. Exquisite. Luxurious. Worth it.

Macanudo Inspirado Black ToroMacanudo Inspirado Black Toro
Dominican Republic        5.5” x 54                               Full                         92-Rated

Inspirado Black is bold in flavor from start to finish. I notice some spice up front, which eventually subsides to present a soothing series of unsweetened cocoa and roasted espresso bean flavors. Common flavors from superior Nicaraguan long-fillers. Midway through, a toasty, nutty character shines, just before a spicy finale. The dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper keeps things rich and smooth throughout. This is not your Dad’s Macanudo.

Romeo y Julieta Media Noche RobustoRomeo y Julieta Media Noche Robusto
Dominican Republic        5.0” x 54                               Medium               91-Rated

For Romeo’s Media Noche it all begins with the Mexican San Andres wrapper. This beloved maduro leaf offers a dense, spicy-sweetness that’s earthy and almost chewy on the palate. Aged long-fillers from the Dominican tame this wrapper’s profile, adding a smooth core of coffee, nuts, toast, and a honey-like sweetness. There’s a lot going on here, and the slow burn provides ample time to both realize and enjoy every touch of complexity. This Romeo is complex yet easy-going.

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